With all the current troubles in Hong Kong, diversifying the business surely is a bigger priority. Langham has said it wants to expand big-time in Europe. It is reentering the continent with style.
Hong Kong-based Langham Hospitality Group has added its first property in Europe since acquiring The Langham, London more than two decades ago.
Competitors may grudgingly admit that The Langham Nymphenburg Residence is, well, special.
Details of the management contract were not disclosed. The property is situated within the 490 acres imperial estate of Nymphenburg Palace, a UNESCO heritage site in Munich that ranks as one of the most popular attractions in Germany. Moreover, its location next to the Royal Nymphenburg Porcelain Manufactory, the last manufactory in the world where everything is handcrafted, is an added appeal.
A first residence project for Langham, the property will open this winter after current renovations, the amount of which the group will not reveal. It will offer four bedrooms, three living rooms, two wine cellars, seven bathrooms, a home cinema, an elevator and a dining room that seats 12 people. A private terrace can accommodate up to 100 seated guests for special occasions.
Langham CEO Stefan Leser won’t also disclose the minimum rate he expects for the home, which must be rented wholly. “The rates are based on request and subject to the duration of stay,” he said.
But based on unconfirmed inside information, Skift believes the rate is upwards of $32,800 (30,000 euros) per night. Assuming 12 people stay, that would be $2,733 per person per night, well above the $2,083 reportedly charged for a night’s stay at Banwa Private Island in Palawan. The Philippines development has been widely billed by the media, including those in Europe, as the world’s most expensive resort.
Private residences managed by luxury hotel brands or distributed by homesharing players are now well-entrenched as a luxury accommodation offering. But without the supporting hotel infrastructure nearby, The Langham Nymphenburg Residence may prove expensive and financially unviable for the chain.
Leser however rejects the view. “Operations will be run out of London and we will also have the support from our European operations that The Langham will have in the near future,” he said, hinting of a bigger Europe setup in anticipation of more hotels to come. The chain has earmarked Europe as the priority region for expansion, as reported by Skift in June.
The Langham Nymphenburg Residence “does make sense financially for the company,” said Leser.
“We believe there is a market for this exclusive, luxurious, residential-style holiday accommodation as people are seeking exceptional accommodations that are private and exclusive with a full service team taking care of them in the whole duration of their stay,” he said.
Target markets include corporate groups, multi-generation families, wedding parties and other celebrations.
“We are delighted to expand our footprint in Europe and introduce our luxury brand to the beautiful city of Munich,” said Leser. “The fact that The Langham Nymphenburg is a residence emphasizes the diversity of our growing portfolio, and it is a wonderful addition to our group of luxury hotels in major cities such as New York, London, Shanghai, Sydney, Melbourne, Hong Kong and Chicago.”
Luxury travel planners in Asia say there is demand for such products.
“High spending Asian clients are looking for a very exclusive, very unique holiday experience, said Jess Yap, head of sales and service at Scott Dunn Asia, based in Singapore. “As a result, we are seeing an increasing demand in guests looking for an unrivaled experience in an environment that is completely exclusive and unique.”
A related trend, she said, is immersive vacations focusing on a particular theme to explore the culture of a destination extensively — for instance, holidays that are specifically created for art enthusiasts and fashion lovers.
Scott Dunn offers stays, for example, in an eight-bedroom Villa La Bererie located in the hills of Provence with views of and immersions into the French countryside. Or the 17-bedroom 19th century Castle Inverlochy in Scotland, a large private house with a homely Scottish feel and a menu that sources meat and fish from the nearby Scottish Highlands.
“These are all amazing experiences in their own right and we expect to see strong interest from our Asian customers (for Langham Nymphenburg). This is best catered to small groups traveling together for something extra special and personal, like a milestone birthday or a group getaway with close friends,” Yap said.
For lovers of the arts, residence’s connection to the manufactory, founded in 1747, is “its greatest advantage,” the chain believes. Art connoisseurs the world over have revered its noble art of porcelain-making, which is completely handmade, i.e., without any automation and using its own paste derived from centuries-old recipes, techniques which have been passed on for generations, it says.
Guests of the residence will have “unparalleled” access to both the manufactory and the palace.
A specially curated selection of pieces from the Nymphenburg porcelain workshop will also be placed throughout the 9,000 square feet residence. Renowned for their collaborations with celebrated artists and fashion designers, some of works will include the “Legends” porcelain by Damien Hirst in the dining room, and Nick Knight’s limited edition porcelain representation of supermodel Kate Moss.
The three-story building was previously a guesthouse and later the villa of the manufactory’s director, before its most recent use as an exclusive venue for private events.
Following its renovations, the residence will be lined with bespoke furniture pieces and accessories handcrafted by specialist brands and ateliers overseen by Munich-based interior design firm Mang Mauritz.
But for wealthy guests, waking up to views of the Nymphenburg Palace, its five museums, landscaped gardens, pavilions, water features, and sculptures, may be a rewarding enough experience that money can buy. Built in 1675, the Baroque palace was once the summer residence of the Bavarian monarchs and remains one of the largest royal palaces in Europe. It remains a home and chancery for the head of the House of Wittelsbach, currently Franz, Duke of Bavaria.
Photo credit: Aerial View of Nymphenburg Palace. Langham Hospitality Group